Our goal is to understand how the architecture of the mature nervous system emerges as a consequence of local interactions between cells during early development. We use a combination of cellular, molecular, genetic and computational tools to understand how cells differentiate in distinct patterns in the different compartments of the zebrafish nervous system. We analyze zebrafish mutants and embryos microinjected with morpholinos or mRNA to alter gene function. This allows us to examine mechanisms involved in the division of the prospective neural tissue into compartments with distinct fate and to examine how cell differentiation is regulated of within each compartment. We use transgenic zebrafish lines with fluorescent protein expression to take advantage of the transparency of zebrafish embryos and watch morphogenesis and cell signaling in a living embryo. Genetic analysis allows us to identify regulatory networks essential for specific aspects of neural patterning, while cell biological experiments identify trafficking events that are essential for regulating signaling. Finally, our group develops computer models of the genetic regulatory networks as a platform to integrate what has been learned through a combination of cellular, molecular and genetic analysis. This allows us visualize how local interactions between cells leads to the emergence of patterned neural development in the growing embryo.
Dalle Nogare D, Somers K, Rao S, Matsuda M, Reichman-Fried M, Raz E, Chitnis AB. Leading and trailing cells cooperate in collective migration of the zebrafish posterior lateral line primordium. Development. 2014 Aug;141(16):3188-96. doi: 10.1242/dev.106690. Epub 2014 Jul 25. PubMed PMID: 25063456; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4197546
Matsuda M, Nogare DD, Somers K, Martin K, Wang C, Chitnis AB. Lef1 regulates Dusp6 to influence neuromast formation and spacing in the zebrafish posterior lateral line primordium. Development. 2013 Jun;140(11):2387-97. doi: 10.1242/dev.091348. Epub 2013 May 1. PubMed PMID: 23637337; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3653559
Chitnis AB, Nogare DD, Matsuda M. Building the posterior lateral line system in zebrafish. Dev Neurobiol. 2012 Mar;72(3):234-55. doi: 10.1002/dneu.20962. Review. PubMed PMID: 21818862; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3376715
- Matsuda M, Chitnis AB. Atoh1a expression must be restricted by Notch signaling for effective morphogenesis of the posterior lateral line primordium in zebrafish. Development. 2010 Oct;137(20):3477-87. PMID: 20876657
- Matsuda M, Chitnis AB. Interaction with Notch determines endocytosis of specific Delta ligands in zebrafish neural tissue. Development. 2009 Jan;136(2):197-206. Epub 2008 Dec 4. PMID: 19056830
Koo BK, Lim HS, Song R, Yoon MJ, Yoon KJ, Moon JS, Kim YW, Kwon MC, Yoo KW, Kong MP, Lee J, Chitnis AB, Kim CH, Kong YY. Mind bomb 1 is essential for generating functional Notch ligands to activate Notch. Development. 2005 Aug;132(15):3459-70. Epub 2005 Jul 6. PubMed PMID: 16000382.
- Chitnis AB, Itoh M. Exploring alternative models of rostral-caudal patterning in the zebrafish neurectoderm with computer simulations. Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2004 Aug;14(4):415-21. Review. PMID: 15261658